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Mike Gesicki hype train picking up steam in Miami

The Dolphins are counting on Ryan Tannehill to return under center from wire-to-wire and flip the switch for Miami.

The emergence of Mike Gesicki should help.

The second-round tight end was listed fifth on Miami's initial depth chart, but we already know coach Adam Gase enjoys toying with the pecking order released to media -- "just to be an a--hole."

According to scribes on-hand at camp, Gesicki is playing more like a Week 1 starter than a clipboard-holder tucked away in the shadows.

Over the past week, the 6-foot-6, 245-pound Penn State star has been crowed about "as emerging as an athletic big target" for Tannehill, per, "especially in the red zone."

"He's hungry to learn," Tannehill told USA Today of Gesicki. "He has incredible range, and that's one thing that's struck me from him so far is just his range. If you put a ball ... (he has a) huge radius. He's got a huge catch radius. If you put a ball anywhere near him, he has the ability to either jump and get it or reach out and get it. One way or the other, he's going to get his hands on it. That's been very impressive so far."

Tuesday's practice highlighted Gesicki's intriguing potential:

Also, one lingering, known concern about his development as a pass-blocker:

Still, the upside has been on display throughout camp, with the rookie logging a practice over the weekend that saw him inhale four touchdowns from Tannehill in a single session.

"I think once we hit the red-area period, I think it was that third or fourth day of camp, you could see Mike started really feeling comfortable," Gase said. "I think we've had more success on the field on third downs [and in the] red area with [Gesicki and Tannehill] developing some chemistry."

The next step is pulling that off against live opponents, but Gesicki's ability to get open and give Tannehill windows is encouraging in any setting.

The Dolphins are often dismissed based on their recent history as a milquetoast, low-stake entry inside a division dominated by a Patriots team playing the role of Skeletor giggling away up in Castle Grayskull.

Miami needs Gesicki -- maybe twenty Gesickis -- to shift the tide, but chalk it up as a promising development for an offense that feels poised to surprise the doubters.

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